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Ads at movies annoy senator
Ads at movies annoy senator
BY DAVID EGGERT
June 1, 2005
LANSING -- A state senator who is fed up with sitting through lengthy advertising before the start of a movie wants theaters to post the actual start time of films.
Sen. Gilda Jacobs, D-Huntington Woods, introduced legislation Tuesday that would require theaters to post two start times: one for the beginning of advertising, previews and public service announcements; and one for the start of the movie.
Jacobs, an avid moviegoer, said her goal is to give people more choice so they arrive at the theater without having to watch what the motion picture industry refers to as "pre-show entertainment."
She singled out ads in particular as a nuisance.
"You basically get infomercials," Jacobs said, citing ads for automobiles, plastic surgeons and jewelers. "It's really increased the time you go in and have to sit through before the actual movie begins."
Jacobs said theaters should voluntarily post the actual start time so legislation isn't needed.
In early May, Loews Cineplex Entertainment -- in response to complaints from moviegoers -- began advertising showtimes with a note saying most movies actually start 10 to 15 minutes later.
Some in the industry said moviegoers haven't voiced much concern over the issue.
Pam Blase, spokeswoman for AMC Entertainment, the country's second-biggest movie theater chain, said movie ads account for less than 3 percent of the complaints or comments it receives. The biggest objection from consumers is related to in-movie distractions like ringing cell phones, she said.
At AMC and the nation's biggest movie theater chain, Regal Entertainment, the posted start time is the point at which previews begin.
"It's a time-honored tradition," Blase said of previews. "If people missed the trailers -- that you might hear about."
Dick Westerling, Regal's senior vice president of marketing, said there may be some confusion because the posted showtime means something different depending on which theater people attend.
Reaction to Jacobs' bill was mixed at a Lansing movie theater on Tuesday.
While waiting to see "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith," 20-year-old Jeff Omura of Okemos said he hates ads.
"I'm paying $10 to see a movie, not $10 to see advertisements," he said.
But his friend, 20-year-old Phil Erickson of Okemos, called the bill a "little ridiculous" and said it would be better if theaters just explained what the start time means.
So far, it's unclear how Jacobs' bill will fare in the Michigan Legislature, but it probably won't be on the fast track.
Ari Adler, spokesman for Republican Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema of Wyoming, said movie start times aren't a pressing issue.
"We're trying to balance a $400-million budget deficit," he said. "We're trying to get Michigan's economy moving forward and people back to work so they can afford to go to the movies regardless of start times."
Copyright © 2005 Detroit Free Press Inc.
Movements in local legislature such as this tend to pass at some point and stay on the books after their time of usefulness. Here is a brief collection from a non-verified source.
Seemingly, the American way to rid of antiquated laws would be to pass a new law to repudiate the old law.
The pre-movie advertisements often hold some contempt in my heart. In Michigan, the ads show limited range to that of those in California theatres, which tend to have higher production values and exceed that of the info-mercial. In Michigan, they tend to repeat the minimal amount of ads in a cyle, and the lack of range tends to annoy.
I certainly despise the style offered in the "movie theatre radio network."
Most of the music they highlight in pre-movie ads tend to inspire me to a boiling point.
Ads in the style of TV commercials hold far greater value. Most adults have a developed tolerance to the display and share an understanding that whatever we tuned in to see will follow. This translates well on the big screen, and like movie trailers, they are fun to observe and rate.
I draw the line at commercials for TV shows in movie theatres. I tend to like actual products and services in my mix of pre-movie ad-fare.